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Bridging the Science, Policy and Practice Gap: GCA Climate Adaptation Changemakers School in Action

04 November 2023

Groningen, the Netherlands, 3rd November 2023 – The Climate Adaptation Changemakers School concluded today after five days of capacity building and knowledge exchange among professionals in Groningen. Organized by the Global Center on Adaptation (GCA) in partnership with the University of Groningen (RUG), the University of Nairobi (UoN), and Cheikh Anta Diop University (UCAD), the School brought together climate change, infrastructure and environmental experts, academic researchers, infrastructure and finance specialists from governments, and Public-Private Partnerships (PPPs) practitioners from Ghana, Kenya, the Netherlands, Senegal, and Uganda.

The Changemakers School brought together professionals from Ghana, Kenya, the Netherlands, Senegal, and Uganda for a transformative five-day program in Groningen © GCA
The Changemakers School brought together professionals from Ghana, Kenya, the Netherlands, Senegal, and Uganda for a transformative five-day program in Groningen © GCA

Designed to bridge the gap between climate science, policy and practice impeding effective adaptation, the School provided information and technical support to practitioners to improve the robustness of the climate science basis in developing and implementing adaptation projects. The School included interactive lectures, co-learning workshops, and field visits aimed at enhancing the capacity of professionals to design, implement and monitor effective climate change adaptation projects with a focus on infrastructure and nature-based solutions.

Speaking at the closing of the Changemakers School, GCA CEO Prof. Dr. Patrick Verkooijen, who is also the Ban Ki-moon Chair of Climate Adaptation Governance at the University of Groningen and Distinguished Chair at the University of Nairobi Wangari Maathai Institute for Peace and Environmental Studies, said, “You, our Changemakers, are already building climate resilience into investment projects and developing national climate adaptation roadmaps in Ghana, Kenya, Senegal, and Uganda. We hope that you will take home from this week multiple approaches to rapidly scale up climate adaptation in your countries, capitalizing on the success of the Africa Adaptation Acceleration Program (AAAP) in designing adaptation solutions in over $2.3 billion of infrastructure investments. You can count on our continued support.”

The program focused on climate adaptation solutions in Africa, where GCA is supporting substantial infrastructure projects through the AAAP. To date, 30 GCA climate adaptation solutions have influenced projects worth over US$ 2.3 billion, which will strengthen the resilience of infrastructure that will serve more than 24 million people and generate around 33,000 jobs.

The Changemakers School engaged professionals from various sectors in countries where the AAAP operates, including Kenya, Senegal, Ghana, and Uganda, with the aim of enhancing the capacity to transform systems and advance cutting-edge adaptation solutions in these regions. These included representatives from the Ghanaian Ministry of Finance, Kenya’s National Highways Authority, Uganda Railways Corporation, and Centre de Suivi Ecologique de Dakar, among others. Through ongoing collaborations with GCA on asset-level climate resilience infrastructure projects in Kenya, Uganda, Senegal, and Ghana, participants in the Changemakers School have already contributed to resilient infrastructure investment projects valued at $935 million in collaboration with the African Development Bank.

Through the AAAP Upstream Financing Facility, GCA and its implementation partners (many of them African institutions) are supporting the mainstreaming of adaptation components into the projects of Multilateral Development Banks and other public and private financial development institutions. The Changemakers School is one element of the AAAP strategy to embed technical capacity within the institutions and countries where GCA works.

Through an engaging and interactive design, including interdisciplinary lectures, group discussions, case studies, and hands-on exercises, participants learned from experts in the field and worked together to address selected adaptation challenges. The program covered an array of topics, including:

  • Managing risk and implementation in climate adaptation
  • Introducing models, data, and tools for effective planning and policy design
  • Adapting infrastructure to climate change through green and grey adaptation solutions
  • Financing adaptation and resilient infrastructure
  • Understanding how to integrate nature-based solutions in practice
  • Leveraging PPPs for climate-resilient infrastructure

By bringing together professionals from diverse countries and backgrounds and fostering knowledge exchange between stakeholders, the School functioned as a platform of interaction, discussion, and collaboration. Further Changemaker Schools organized by the University of Nairobi, in Kenya next year and by UCAD in Dakar, Senegal, are planned in the future to continue this work.

This article was originally published on November 3, 2023 on the website of Global Center on Adaptation.
Last modified:07 November 2023 2.29 p.m.

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